Welcome to this week’s round-up of all the action from WWE’s women’s divisions. Another big week for WWE. Hell in a Cell, title shenanigans galore, and the start of the WWE Draft 2019. It’s a bit of a long one this week, so let’s get started.
Hell in a Cell
I covered the show for this very site and my full review can be found here. The reviews below are copied and pasted from that piece.
Lacey Evans vs Natalya – Kickoff Show
Natalya and Evans performed to a mostly empty arena. The match was put on twenty minutes into the Kickoff, while most people were still queuing. It was probably their best match to date. Evans did some damage to Natalya’s leg with the help of the steps and tried to strangle her with the ring apron. All of which we saw picture in picture while they advertised the cell matches.
Evans kept working Natalya’s leg over and was in complete control until she tried to put Natalya in a Sharpshooter, twice. The first time Natalya kicked her away. The second time she kicked her out of the ring. Evans rallied and went to the top for her moonsault (which is a pretty moonsault even if the landing didn’t quite go right), but she missed and Natalya locked in the Sharpshooter. Lacey Evans tapped. After the match, Natalya gave Evans a Woman’s Right of her own.
Later in the show, WWE announced Natalya and Lacey Evans would do it all over again for the 519844984484365148946 time, but this time in a Last Woman Standing match.
Becky Lynch (C) vs Sasha Banks – Hell in a Cell match for the RAW Women’s Championship
It shouldn’t have been as much of a surprise as it was that this opened the show. There was never any question that Seth Rollins vs The Fiend would main event. I have to say, it’s great to have the pyro back, it really enhances the feel.
Sasha Banks went for Becky Lynch while the cell was still being lowered and slammed her into it before rolling them underneath. The cage was lowered with them outside and Banks left Lynch laying and got in. She probably shouldn’t have got so close while Lynch was struggling to her feet, because she took a cage door in the face. Becky Lynch stole the chain they were going to use to lock the door and hot Banks in the stomach with it. The door eventually got chained shut, by Lynch.
They made really good use of the cell and all the toys inside it. We got a street fight inside a TLC match inside a cell. They both favour using a chair, and faces and bodies met the cell mesh too many times to count. Banks even managed to trap Lynch’s arm in the chained shut door and slam it several times.
Banks looked to be out after having her face smashed into a chair a couple of times, but she kicked out. Lynch went to the top and dropkicked a chair into Banks, but still she kicked out.
The kendo sticks came out at around the twenty-minute mark. Banks set them up across the corner, and it was her face that was driven into them. Lynch then reconfigured them and added a chair. She sat Banks on the chair the dropkicked her in the chest, into the corner of the cage, from the apron. That still wasn’t the end. Lynch went through a table and was choked with a kendo stick, and thrown into a chair sticking out of the cell, and that still wasn’t the end.
The end came after Sasha Banks piled chairs into the ring. She spent too much time posing and when she went to the top Becky Lynch delivered a Bexploder onto the pile of chairs and tapped her out with a Dis-Arm-Her.
Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross (C) vs Kabuki Warriors – WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship match
This one started quick and carried on that way. Bliss turned Cross trapping Asuka in the ring skirt into a double team, with a baseball slide.
Kairi Sane’s cheeky eye poke on Nikki Cross cost her a pinning opportunity. Cross tried to get into the ring to get at her, and Sane had Bliss covered while the ref was dealing with her.
Nikki Cross got her feet up for the InSane Elbow and would have pinned Sane with an elevated neckbreaker, had Asuka not got there just in time. Asuka and Cross have a great history, which commentary didn’t really allude to.
After Bliss took Sane down on the outside, Nikki Cross peered over the ropes to check on her. When she turned around, Asuka sprayed her with green mist and pinned her. New champs.
Bayley (C) vs Charlotte Flair – SmackDown Women’s Championship match
Charlotte Flair had Bayley in a Boston crab for an uncomfortably long time early on. Bayley responded by raking Flair’s eyes as soon as she got free, making her intentions very clear. She was going to do whatever it takes, legal or otherwise.
Flair picked up a leg injury during the match, then slammed Bayley’s leg into the ringpost and spent some time working it over, just to make sure Bayley was more severely impaired. She went back to the leg throughout the match.
Natural Selection would have got Flair the win if Bayley hadn’t been able to get a hand to the ropes. Bayley tried to use the ropes as leverage for a pin and got caught. She took a big boot from Flair while arguing with the ref and found herself tapping out in the Figure Eight.
Charlotte Flair is now Ten Time Women’s Champion.
Bayley lost the plot at ringside after the match and her a temper tantrum before sinking to the floor in tears. I’m invested in the story but if she could have her breakdown backstage, that would be fab. This show has been on for a week and there’s still another match. Interestingly, Sasha Banks didn’t come to comfort her best friend, but maybe she’s still being patched up.
Natalya def. Lacey Evans
Kabuki Warriors def. Charlotte Flair & Becky Lynch
Lacey Evans vs Natalya – Last Woman Standing match
In the long preamble to the match, Lacey Evans called it the end of the road and I really hope she’s right because this feud has been spectacularly dull. Actually, credit where credit’s due, the match at Hell I a Cell wasn’t bad, and neither was this.
Natalya started hard and she had Evans in a Sharpshooter for a while to try to wear her down, but Evans slammed her backwards onto the mat and Natalya stayed down for eight. Natalya stayed down until eight or nine on all the ref’s counts, it felt like she was just trying to take rest breaks. Evans took control and kept it for most of the match.
One simple thing Evans did that was very nearly effective, was use a kendo stick through the arms of a chair like a safety bar to keep Natalya in place, then kicked the chair over. Natalya got out at nine. Lacey Evans used the kendo stick a lot. She also hit Natalya with a trash can containing food waste.
They brawled up the ramp and Evans threw Natalya into the backboards. Thing is, the new backboards are curved and she just slid down it, which looked comical. Lacey Evans Suplexed Natalya on the announce desk, which didn’t collapse, and then back on the backboard slide.
Natalya reversed Evans’ attempt to suplex her off the stage then picked her up and powerbombed her off the stage through a conveniently placed table. Lacey Evans didn’t get up.
Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch were guests on Miz TV. When they were both out, Miz talked Becky Lynch up and listed her accomplishments. Lynch said accomplishments are great, making history is great, but Sasha Banks beat her all the way through hell and she’s never been more banged up than she was then, but if Banks was here she’d remind her she got her ass kicked by The Man.
Charlotte Flair got less build-up, but the fact it’s her tenth championship was mentioned. She just replied with ‘It’s good to be The Queen’.
Miz turned his spiel to the draft and the fact they could end up on the same brand. Flair called him out for saying they were two of the most dominant women in WWE, the gender qualifier was not required. He used that to start talking about the upcoming Champions Showcase match.
Becky Lynch said she’s got something to prove to herself Asuka beat her the last time they met and she wants to right the wrong. Charlotte Flair made a snarky comment and Lynch said ‘Look at you there all happy with the belt that I made famous.’
Flair came back with, ‘And I made you famous’. They got interrupted by Asuka and Kairi Sane before things could escalate.
Asuka and Sane delivered their entire promo in Japanese, which I quite liked, then Becky Lynch invited them to the ring. They brawled on the Miz TV set until Lynch and Flair cleared the ring and delivered tandem baseball slides.
Kabuki Warriors vs Charlotte Flair & Becky Lynch
The Miz TV set was cleared during the break, then we got the match proper. It was billed as a champions’ showcase and it worked as such. Great match designed to show off all four competitors at their best.
Kairi Sane took Flair out with a chop block after Flair had kicked Asuka off the apron. The ref went to check on Flair’s leg and Lynch got Sane in the Dis-Arm-Her. We’ll never know if he would have heard Kairi Sane tap, but we know he didn’t see Asuka spray the green mist in Becky Lynch’s face. He was focused again in time for Sane to roll Lynch up and pin her.
Post-match Flair piled into Asuka and Sane but was quickly overcome by the numbers advantage. Nikki Cross and Alexa Bliss ran down to make the save, threw Asuka out of the ring, then laid out Kairi Sane.
Bayley def. Charlotte Flair
SmackDown saw the beginning of the WWE Draft. As usual, they’ve made it more complicated than it needs to be. Thirty superstars were eligible to be drafted on SmackDown, another forty will be eligible to be drafted on Monday Night RAW (see the full list here). However, not all of the eligible superstars will be drafted in each session. Anyone not drafted gets to pick which brand to go to. Presumably, this includes NXT or NXT UK, but that hasn’t been specifically stated (or if it has I missed it). RAW gets three picks for every two SmackDown gets because they have an extra hour to fill.
It turned out to be an interesting show. A match between Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins decided which brand would get first pick. It went to RAW after The Fiend attacked Rollins which caused Reigns to be DQ’d.
The number one pick of the 2019 draft was Becky Lynch. She stayed at RAW, which makes sense considering she’s RAW Women’s Champion. Sasha Banks went to SmackDown as did Lacey Evans. Alexa Bliss, Nikki Cross, and Natalya went to RAW. For some unknown reason, Bliss and Cross were drafted separately, the only tag team to not be drafted as a unit despite being listed as one in the draft pool. Even The OC were drafted as a threesome. Full night one draft results can be found here.
The only woman to be left a free agent at the end of night one is Tamina.
Charlotte Flair (C) vs Bayley – SmackDown Women’s Championship match
Now we get to talk about Bayley. She came out for her main event match as normal, but she stayed on the stage and the music stopped. She slowly undid her Jacket and took it off to reveal new gear. Then she grabbed an – actually I’m not sure what it was, it looked like an axe handle with blades taped to it – from the side of the stage and massacred the inflatable tube men. She’s got a new haircut as well, much shorter, so no side ponytail anymore. Charlotte Flair stood and watched the outburst with her head on one side.
Unsurprisingly, Bayley started the match aggressively, and Flair responded in kind. They spent a bit of time on the outside utilising the barricades and steps, and the match just got more vicious from there. Flair was bleeding from the mouth from fairly early on.
Charlotte Flair kicked out of the Bayley to Belly, so maybe a new finisher is on the cards. Bayley failed again to get a pin even using the ropes as leverage. And Flair kicked out of an elbow drop as well. Flair hit Natural Selection and went for the figure four, but Bayley was ready for her and rolled her up for the win with her hands full of Flair’s hair.
After the match, our new SmackDown Women’s Champion stood on the announce desk then returned to the ring to call everyone bitches and say ‘Screw all of you’.
I think just about every fan has called for a Bayley turn at one time or another. I know I have. And now we have it. At the moment it has a feel of your kid sister throwing a strop and saying rude words, but I’m interested in how she goes about legitimising the new attitude. It’ll probably take a bit of time, happy smiley Bayley has been around a long time, but it has the potential to be a great move for her.
Rhea Ripley def. Aliyah
Bianca Belair def. Dakota Kai
Tegan Nox returns to NXT next week. She was pictured backstage this week supporting Dakota Kai.
Rhea Ripley vs Aliyah
The best thing about this match for Aliyah was that it didn’t last long. Vanessa Borne accompanied Aliyah to the ring but sensibly stayed out of the action. Ripley looked like she was just going to give Aliyah a normal beating, even after Aliyah jumped on her back and screamed loud enough to deafen her. That changed when Aliyah decided it would be wise to rake her nails down Ripley’s back. Moment’s later Aliyah was hung upside down by her figure-foured legs and swung around before Ripley sat down hard. Aliyah tapped instantly.
After the match, Ripley grabbed a mic and said, ‘There is no doubt that Shayna Baszler is the most dominant NXT Women’s Champion in history. She has tapped, napped, or snapped every single one of her competitors. But not me. Shayna, I’m coming for you.’
Dakota Kai vs Bianca Belair
I really enjoyed this one. Belair and Kai should be two of the major players in the NXT women’s division going forward and it’s all about who fits where in the pecking order. They’re both great and the match was very entertaining. Belair dominated for long stretches due to her superior strength, but struggled to deal with the speed and accuracy of Kai’s offence when she built a little momentum.
Belair delivered a double elevated chicken wing and followed it with a standing shooting star, but Kai kicked out and Belair’s frustration was obvious. It’ took her a bit of time to get her head back into it, but as soon as she did she gave Kai the K.O.D. for the win.
After the match, Belair said she heard what Rhea Ripley said and if anyone wants a piece of Baszler, they have to go through her first.
Piper Niven def. Jazzy Gabert
Xia Brookside had her video segment interrupted by Nina Samuels. Cattiness ensued, the match is sure to follow.
Piper Niven vs Jazzy Gabert
The main event of the show. It started as an irresistible force meets immovable object and Niven tired to get Gabert off her feet. Gabert left the ring, apparently a little flustered, but Jinny gave her a strategy talk at ringside and Gabert took a walk around the ring. The strategy turned out to be Jinny causing a distraction so Jazzy Gabert could sneak back into the ring and attack Niven from behind. Piper Niven thwarted that and they got on with it.
It was a dominant performance from Gabert, highly focused on Niven’s back. Piper Niven used her head to get back into it, literally. Once Jazzy Gabert was down, Niven turned her attention to Jinny and dragged her into the ring. Jinny took a headbutt and while the ref was checking on her, Rhea Ripley arrived on the outside and kicked Jazzy Gabert in the face. Ripley rolled Gabert into the ring and a senton from Piper Niven finished her off.
Before Ripley left, she and Niven shared the smallest of smiles.
No women’s division action on Main Event again this week.
That’s it for this week’s WWE women’s division action, and it really was a big week. Join me next week for another instalment and in the meantime follow @ArnFuriousCom to make sure you never miss a review. You can also follow me @manda_why.